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September 7, 2018
The Summer Triangle of bright stars sails high above Saturn and Mars after nightfall. Lowest is Altair, in Aquila, the eagle. Brightest is Vega, in Lyra, the lyre of Orpheus. Note the parallelogram of stars below Vega; they outline the lyre and look beautiful through binoculars. East of Vega, Deneb completes the Triangle. It also marks the “top” of the Northern Cross, a feature of Cygnus, the swan. Minnesota StarWatch
The Northern Cross: Minnesota Starwatch for September 2018 Minnesota Starwatch for September 2018
September 7, 2018 - 7:00pm
March 26, 2018
April opens with Mars and Saturn paired in the predawn sky. On the move eastward, Mars passes a mere 1.3 degrees below Saturn on the 2nd. Just 25 days later, the gap has widened to 13 degrees, and Mars keeps right on going. Minnesota Starwatch
Minnesota Starwatch for April 2018
March 26, 2018 - 11:00am
February 25, 2018
The first full moon arrives at 6:51 p.m. on the 1st, barely an hour after moonrise and just a couple of days after perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a lunar cycle. This means it’ll rise about as round and luminous as any full moon gets. Minnesota Starwatch
Minnesota Starwatch for March 2018
February 25, 2018 - 8:00am
September 30, 2017
The full harvest moon rises the evening of the 5th. Also in the evening, the Great Square of Pegasus rides high in the southeast or south. Below it, the Circlet of Pisces is fun to find, and that lone bright star low in the south is Fomalhaut, the mouth of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish.
Minnesota Starwatch - October 2017: The Great Square of Pegasus rides high
September 30, 2017 - 7:00am
September 1, 2017
As the month goes on, the winter stars sweep westward; Venus drops toward the sun, rising later every morning; and the spring constellation Leo, the lion, becomes the planet's new starry companion. In mid-September, Mars and Mercury enter the morning sky over the eastern horizon. Mars is distant and dim, and it climbs slowly. But nearer, brighter Mercury, as usual, quickly pops (up) and drops. On the 16th, Mercury passes close to Mars in the sun's foreglow.
Minnesota Starwatch for Sept. 2017: Winter stars sweep westward
September 1, 2017 - 7:00am
January 27, 2017
In February the knot of bright winter constellations rides highest in the south during prime evening viewing hours. You might especially notice the two brightest stars in Orion (the hunter): Betelgeuse, in the northeast corner of the constellation; and Rigel, in the opposite corner. Both are gigantic stars that will end their days in a supernova explosion. And, of course, there's Sirius, just southeast of Orion in Canis Major, the larger of Orion’s hunting dogs. MN Starwatch graphic
Minnesota Starwatch: February packs a lot of celestial delights.
January 27, 2017 - 6:00pm
May 2, 2016
Mars reaches the climax of its 2016 appearance in the early morning of the 22nd, when Earth laps the red planet in the orbital race and it shines opposite the sun in the sky. At opposition, as it is called, Mars will be a mere 47.4 million miles away, blazing like a fiery ruby just beyond the claws of Scorpius.
Minnesota Starwatch for May 2016: Earth laps Mars at opposition
May 2, 2016 - 9:30am
November 4, 2015
The first two weeks of November offer at least a few moon-free hours for enjoying the evening stars. Go out right after nightfall to catch Capricornus, a chevron-shaped constellation, in the southwest before it sets. Moving northeast, look for spidery Aquarius, then the Circlet of Pisces, and above it the Great Square of Pegasus, high in the south. Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics
Minnesota StarWatch for November 2015
November 4, 2015 - 2:07pm